VW’s City Jetta revives a trusty friend
At $16,700, the 2007 City Jetta follows the same concept as its Golf counterpart — to provide an affordable alternative below the increasingly upscale new-generation model.
Sometimes obsolete cars refuse to die. Take the City Golf from Volkswagen as an example. When the new-generation Golf arrived for 2007 (reviving the Rabbit nameplate for North American buyers), VW also retained a bare-bones version of the previous 4-door hatchback (bearing the City Golf badge) as a more affordable alternative.
But sometimes an obsolete car can also make like a Phoenix, too, by living on after it dies. Case in point: it’s pushing two years since the fourth-generation VW Jetta was displaced by an all-new model but, for now, the old one (now called the City Jetta) is back on sale alongside its newer namesake.
Volkswagen says the City Golf and City Jetta are meant to fill the void for fuel-efficient vehicles until it can get its new generation of cleaner burning, common rail diesel engines onto the Canadian market.
Basically, the City Jetta follows the same concept as its Golf counterpart — to provide an affordable alternative below the increasingly upscale new-generation model — except that in the Jetta’s case the City is itself more upscale than its hatchback sister car.
At $16,700 the City Jetta competes with the Honda Civic, Mazda3, Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla. It’s built at VW’s facility in Puebla, Mexico.
Like the City Golf, it comes standard with VW’s familiar 115 hp, 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder engine and puts its power to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission (a 4-speed auto is optional.) Four-wheel disc brakes, with ABS, are also standard.
On the road, the gasoline-fed “four” may be a little short on top-end horsepower compared with some of its more modern rivals, but it’s long on real-world driveability. Throttle response is quick, the steering is nicely precise, handling and ride quality are comfortably composed and cabin noise levels suitably muted. While the newer-generation Jetta undoubtedly handles better when pushed on tighter, twistier roads, many drivers may prefer the lighter and livelier steering feel of the City version.
Aside from the engine/transmission combo, the City Jetta has more standard features than the Golf (hence the $1,800 higher price) like power locks and mirrors, keyless entry, chrome trim pieces, a darkened headlamp housing and a power outlet in the trunk.
Fully loaded, the City Jetta’s $22,565 sticker price brings extras like power windows, cruise control, 15-inch wheels, sunroof, heated seats, air conditioning, side airbags and electronic stability control.
It’s pretty hard to argue with the built-in value of a premium German sedan for under $17,000. Even in its base version, the City Jetta delivers a lot of solid, well-made car for the money. Even loaded up with every available option it’s an entirely affordable proposition with luxury content way above the class norms.